All the facts: This copy of The Stars Align was provided to us by Sean Fenemore – Founder and Designer at Savage Yeti Games
Okay, we have to say that this game is not something we would typically play here at Hit and Myths. We’ll admit that we often tend to go for sprawling, table-space hungry games so we were pleasantly surprised at how much enjoyment we got out of this game in a bag. Yes, you read that correctly. The Stars Align shuns tradition and comes in a beautifully presented bag instead of a box and there is a very good reason why.
Savage Yeti Games have really thought things through with this game. The bag that you pop all of the game pieces into for easy transport is also the playing surface for the game. The bag\playing surface is of good quality, as are the components – Double-sided Stars, Shooting stars and Card stock for the constellation deck. The instructions for playing are very straight forward and minimal which is all that is required.
When you wish upon a Star
The stars are out, and players take turns spotting their colour stars in the sky by playing constellation cards to the map. Once the sky is full of stars, they start to twinkle, or flip to the reverse colour. When the same colour stars create a line across the night sky, they shoot and disappear! The first stargazer to catch 5 shooting stars is the winner! Sounds simple, right? Well it is…. But there are actually 2 phases to the game play.
During this phase, each turn you will draw a Constellation card and then add stars of your particular colour in that shape to the board. You can rotate the piece however you want prior to adding it, but you cannot cover other players’ pieces. Once you finish playing a card, your opponent has their turn and then cycles around again.
During the Dusk phase, if you manage to make a complete row or column of your coloured stars, you clear it from the board and earn a point. You have just seen a star shoot across the night sky.
Once one player cannot play the card they drew, the game switches to the Night Phase.
Now this is where things get a bit more competitive. You still play the same as you did during in the Dusk Phase, but now you are able to cover pieces with your own during play. A couple of things to note:
- When covering your opponent’s pieces, you flip them to your colour. You may only cover up to three of your opponent’s pieces in a play. This mechanic should prevent stalemating (it has certainly worked in the 15 or so games we’ve played so far).
- Covering your own pieces: Flip them to your opponent’s colour. You can cover as many of your own pieces as you’d like in a play, But probably not recommend from a strategic point of view.
- Covering a blank space: It plays like normal. Add a star of your colour to the play surface.
Much like in the Dusk Phase, if you ever make a complete row or column of your colour, simply clear it from the board and take a point. The first player to gain 5 points wins!
What we like:
• The storage bag doubling as the play surface is a great and very well thought out design move. It allows you to make the game as compact as possible for transport and lets you keep everything together ready to play and it looks great.
• It’s the perfect game to act as either:
– a gateway game
– a filler game while you await the rest of the group to arrive for games night
– Something light between heavier games
• It’s perfect for playing while travelling. You can easily play this on an air-plane tray in flight. Or, even at your local cafe if the mood strikes.
• Simple to learn – everyone we’ve played this with picked it up straight away, there’s virtually no learning curve
• Simple, well thought-out Aesthetic – we don’t see enough of this.
• Tight, quick and fast to play
• Value for money.
What we didn’t like:
We actually struggled a bit to find things we didn’t like and to be honest, the below are just tiny niggling things that may be particular to us.
• Card storage – Brand new the Constellation cards come in a plastic wrap to keep them together. But once opened, there is no way to protect the cards during transport. Sure, we could use a rubber band or similar but as gamer’s this seems mildly sacrilegious to us. This could result in damaged cards if you don’t secure them in the bag safely and the bag gets bumped around
• When playing against an opponent who thinks in a similar way to you, players can easily get distracted and miss opportunities to score as they try to screw over the other player (or is that just us?)
TL;DR: An extremely well thought out and designed abstract game that will scratch an itch for a lot of people.
How we rate it
Quality of Components: 7/10
Simplicity of Game: 9/10
Did we enjoy playing it? 7/10
Final Score: 7 – A Hit!
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